Flawed logic in higher fishing and hunting license fees

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Added: Fri, 06/19/2015 - 11:30am
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Now that the weather is getting warmer, come Friday, and especially on long weekends, the highway, gas stations, and corner stores are filled with vehicles towing boats and other gear as they depart for weekend fishing and camping excursions. This will also be the case in the fall when moose and deer season opens. Although the number of sportsmen appears to be plentiful, look
closer… are there as many as last year?
Earlier this spring when they unveiled their new budget, the Liberal government increased prices for hunting and fishing
permits 20-40% in order to “generate about $5 million in additional revenue” to hire additional environment protection officers.
For those living in Quebec and buying resident permits, the price increase for a fishing license, which went from $20 to $30, might not be an issue - what’s an extra $10 or so? But for people outside the province, hunting and fishing in Quebec has become increasingly less appealing, and for many, just too expensive.
Many people from Ontario choose to hunt or fish here because of our bountiful forests and lakes; these resources are a big draw for the area and those from out of town contribute to the local economy when they visit, buy groceries, gas, and other
supplies. But, with an increased price tag for non-residents to hunt in the region, will they justify spending almost $295 to hunt deer in Quebec when they can do so in their own province for $48? That’s over six times more! Or will they spend $80 to fish in Quebec when it only costs $30 in Ontario?
Non-resident ZEC passes have also skyrocketed in price for those who choose to hunt or fish in those areas; all this combined with high gas and food prices may cause many to decide to engage in these activities in their own province - or in their own country, which is the case for the many American sportsmen who visit the area - or not at all simply because they can’t afford it; non-residents hunting moose in a ZEC will pay about $1,000 just for their pass and license.
I personally know a few people, all
non-residents, who have hunted moose in the Pontiac for years, and who have decided to quit this year because of the higher costs.
What about the effects on outfitters who rely on out-of-province sportsmen to make a living?  How will these increased fees affect their bottom line?
Expecting to generate an extra $5
million in revenue represents a serious flaw in logic if the Liberal government assumed everyone who purchased a license in the past would continue to do so despite the added costs; they may be surprised when the final numbers are revealed. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the effects will be hardest felt in the Pontiac - and other border regions – where we
desperately need initiatives that draw
people into the area, not chase the ones we’ve already attracted, away.
Allyson Beauregard, Editor